A Day in Charleston: Part 1...

It was good to meander the familiar streets of this special City.

First thing we came upon was a large group of bikes and people. At the end of the school year, a phenomenon occurs here in Charleston. Most of the students depart for home or other destinations and leave their bikes locked up all over the town. It was one of the happenings that surprised us when we were here in May. We had never seen such a thing.
Well, we discovered today, that someone went around, cut off all the locks, then gathered and stored all those bikes for today's auction. There were hundreds of bikes, leading us to believe this is a huge fundraiser for the College of Charleston. It was hosted by a real auctioneer. Hearing the quick "Do I hear...?" and seeing the numbered paddles raise was pretty cool for me.
Today was also the beginning of Charleston’s ten day long MOJA Arts Festival: A Celebration of African-American and Caribbean Arts. Wanting to see something of the festival, we headed to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art.
This solo exhibition features the work of Fahamu Pecou, an artist profoundly involved in exploring the state of Black existence – life and death – today. DO or DIE: Affect, Ritual, Resistance serves as one artist’s action in opposition to overwhelming societal forces, seeking instead to elevate and re-contextualize Black life and death. Through performance, painting, drawing and video Pecou reframes our view, incorporating references from Yoruba/ Ifa ritual to cultural retentions of hip-hop to the philosophy of NĂ©gritude, and through this shapes a story that seeks to affirm life via an understanding of the balance between life and death.
Artist Pecou states: “DO or DIE is a different type of spectacle, one that distances itself from the terror and violence typically associated with Black bodies. It affirms life and life beyond. It reclaims what was lost, turning our gaze inward and ultimately forward. Through ritual, performance and image, the exhibit challenges the perception of death’s dominion. Ultimately, DO or DIE is a reminder of an intimate balance that affirms life. It is art as affective resistance. It is a healing.” After viewing the varied artwork, we left with a great hopefulness about the current state of the world.
We also left with a little bit of art purchased for $5 at the Art-o-mat® . There are over 100 of these retired cigarette vending machines that have been converted to vend art. I saw my first one several years ago and have loved the idea of them ever since. 

Lunch was with our friend, Sharon, at our "usual" spot. Fun stuff!

We then joined some of the performers that would be participating in MOJA's opening street parade which featured festive Caribbean and African costumes, African drummers and more. This was just our day in Charleston. The night was even more exciting.

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Karen Booth said...

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a wax seal in the future. Do you think the vending machines were re-purposed from cigarette sales.

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